Morning rush hour traffic in the Belgian capital was reduced to a snail’s pace when truckers from the country staged a protest angry at cheap labour from Eastern Europe.
They claim its impossible for them to work for the same rates and want, in the words of their slogan, “Equal wages for equal jobs.”
The truckers met up at five different locations in Belgium to form convoys into the capital. They say the open borders within the EU are not matched by harmonised social legislation. They want the EU to act to protect their livelihoods.
Their demands include tougher checks and a clampdown on illegal practices which they say exploit the eastern European drivers.
Dirk Segers, representative for the group, “Owner Drivers United”, said: “The people from eastern Europe are driving for 20 euro cents a kilometre, it is terrible. We cannot drive on those prices. Our price has to be two euros per kilometre, minimum,” and added: “From January until now I think in Belgium there are already about 100 companies bankrupt because of that. So it has to stop, we are selling out Belgium, its terrible.”
The European Parliament is currently debating laws to counter practices in which companies take shelter in member states with the least social legislation.